Audi Q3 Sportback Review 2023 | Top Gear
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Tuesday 31st January
Happily almost as practical as a normal Q3, but no sportier and saddled with a laggy gearbox

Good stuff

Just as practical despite lower roof-line, good tech

Bad stuff

No more dynamic than a normal one, laggy gearbox

Overview

What is it?

What do you think? It’s an Audi Q3, the company’s fifth best-selling car in the UK (after the A1, A3, Q2 and A4), with a lightly sportified body. For people who desperately want to keep their TT, but can’t because kids.  

The Q3 Sportback is marginally longer, lower and, weirdly, narrower than the car on which it’s based. It has a tiny bit less boot-space, and right now model-for-model costs around £1,150 more than the equivalent Q3. Think Porsche Cayenne Coupe, BMW X6 or Mercedes GLE/GLC Coupe - a less practical, more expensive, arguably more stylish and supposedly better-to-drive version of an existing family SUV.

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The Q3S directly rivals the BMW X2, Range Rover Evoque, Jaguar E-Pace, and TG’s favourite small SUV, the Volvo XC40. 

Like those cars, the Q3S is going to be popular. Of course it is. Audi reckons it will account for a third of all Q3 sales here in the UK, but we can easily see it doing far bigger numbers than that. And, don’t forget, SUVs are getting more popular with every passing year - Audi also says it expects demand for ‘compact SUVs’ like the Q3S to swell by 40 per cent over the next five years. 

It arrives in the UK this autumn, with a choice of petrol and diesel four-cylinder engines, manual and ‘S-tronic’ double-clutch automatic gearboxes and front- and four-wheel drive. One model, the 35 TFSI with the auto’ gearbox, gets new 48-volt mild-hybrid technology that gives a temporary power boost and marginal economy gains. 

Prices start at £32,440 and rise to just shy of £50,000. Yep, that’s £50,000.

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What's the verdict?

Happily almost as practical as a normal Q3, but no sportier and saddled with a laggy gearbox

The Q3 Sportback is not a bad car, but it’s not a brilliant one either. Audi should be commended for maintaining much of the regular one’s practicality, so if you’re happy to pay the extra for the added style, you won’t feel hard done by. 

It’s just a pity it’s no more interesting to drive than a normal Q3 - its looks make promises its chassis doesn’t keep - that the gearbox is so recalcitrant, and the ride on the standard suspension is a bit bobbly. 

Interior tech and standard equipment is good, but quality is mixed.

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